We received the following question from a TMJ patient and wanted to share this with our readers:
For the past month I've been researching Platelet Rich Plasma injections (PRP) and its use in joint therapies. Although I've been researching such therapies, I don't have the resources to know whether or not this therapy would work on issues regarding TMJ. So far in other joints injuries, PRP is known for very little side effects and its beneficial healing effects due to platelet growth factors, which might obviate the need for surgery. Can you please investigate this issue and give a prompt reply as to whether or not TMJ sufferers can turn to such therapies?
The TMJ Association contacted Dr. John Kusiak, Director of the Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience Program at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Institute. Dr. Kusiak provided the following response:
“Seems that PRP therapy has been tried for several joints, mostly knees and elbows after sports injuries, etc. Several studies have been done on wound repair, healing after dental extractions (dry socket), or bone regeneration after injury. Results appear mixed at best. PRP doesn’t seem to alleviate pain in affected joints. No trials have been done on PRP and muscle repair/regeneration. My conservative view is that it is too early in the game to suggest that this might be an alternative approach to treating TMJ disorders. Efficacy would also probably depend upon the underlying cause(s) of the TMJD, whether muscle, joint, or disc problem(s); i.e. unlikely benefit if mainly a muscle problem.
Noted a recent paper in J Clin Immunol 2010 Apr 28 by A Goebel, Epublished, on the use of immunoglobulin treatment for neuropathic pain, sort of a meta analysis of recent studies. Again, caution on its use for chronic pain conditions, but interesting approach.”
Additionally, Dr. Daniel Laskin, the TMJA's clinical consultant had the following to say:
“Currently, there have been a few studies on the use of PRP in the knee joint for treating degenerative joint disease with some promising results. However, I am not aware of its use in the TMJ. Even in such cases, it would only be beneficial in cartilage healing and the condyle is lined with connective tissue and not directly with cartilage and so the results may be different. Moreover, it would not be helpful in patients with an internal derangement ( clicking and locking), which is an anatomic displacement of the disc. The bottom line is that there has to be more studies before any role for PRP injections can be determined. In the interim, I would not advise having this done unless it is part of an approved study and one understands the possible benefits and risks.”